Complete AirDrop Troubleshooting Guide for iOS and macOS

Apple’s AirDrop is one of best file sharing service. But it is not completely flawless and faces issues sometimes. Similar issues have also occurred with iOS 13 and macOS Catalina recently. So, if you are facing AirDrop related issues between your iOS 13 and macOS Catalina devices, this AirDrop troubleshooting guide is for you.

Based on the types of issues you are facing with AirDrop, you might need to try several things. So, as possible workarounds, we are going to reboot every device connected to AirDrop, turn off all the bad things with the file-sharing system. And if these don’t work, we are going to try some Terminal commands as well. Now, let’s start with the basic things first.

A) Fixing AirDrop Not Working Issues on iPhone and iPad

1. Turn Off/On Bluetooth and WiFi and Force Restart Device

A reboot solves connectivity related issues in electronic devices most of the times. So, first of all, we are going to turn OFF and then turn ON Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If it doesn’t work, we are going to hard reset the device to fix AirDrop issues.

  • Open the Settings app on your device. Go to WiFi and Bluetooth and then turn them OFF.
Open Settings and Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Open Settings and disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Now, on iPhone/iPad with Face ID, press and release the volume up button, press and release the volume down button. Then, press and hold the side button.
  • On iPhone/iPad with Touch ID, press and hold the Home button and sleep/wake button at once for up to 10 seconds until the Apple logo pops up on the screen.

2. Make Your iPhone or iPad Visible to Fix AirDrop Issues

Visibility sometimes causes problems with AirDrop. It is one of the common problems. Start AirDrop troubleshooting by making sure to keep your device visible so that AirDrop can discover it without any problems.

To make your device Visible: Bring up the control center, press and hold the panel featuring Airplane mode. Then, tap on AirDrop and be sure to choose Everyone.

NOTE: If you select Contacts Only option, AirDrop might not be able to discover new devices.

Set AirDrop Visibility to Everyone
Set AirDrop Visibility to Everyone

3. Disable Personal Hotspot on iPhone/iPad

AirDrop won’t work if you have enabled Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad. So, first of all, turn it OFF. You can do so, in the Control Center. Touch and hold the panel which have Airplane mode. And then, turn off Personal Hotspot to fix AirDrop related issues.

Disable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad to Fix Airdrop issues
Disable Personal Hotspot on your iPhone or iPad

4. Turn OFF ‘Do Not Disturb’ to Fix AirDrop Problems

When “Do Not Disturb” is enabled on your iOS device, AirDrop requests will not be received. So, next thing we are going to check in this AirDrop troubleshooting guide is ‘Do Not Disturb’. To turn it off, go to Settings > Do Not Disturb and then turn off the switch. You can also disable it from Control Center.

Turn Off Do Not Disturb in Your iPhone or iPad
Turn Off Do Not Disturb in Your iPhone

5. Reset Network Settings on iPhone/iPad

While not frequently but sometimes, resetting network settings fix AirDrop related issues on your iPhone or iPad. Before you reset network settings, remember that it will wipe all the saved network settings. To reset network settings, go to, Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings.

AirDrop Troubleshooting - Reset Network Settings in iPhone or iPad
Reset Network Settings in iPhone

6. Update Your iPhone and iPad

Not only AirDrop but all kind of issues occurs more often on outdated devices. So, next step in our AirDrop troubleshooting guide is upgrading your iOS to latest version. To update iOS to latest version, go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Update your iOS or iPadOS to Latest version
Update your iOS to Latest version

B) Fixing AirDrop Not Working Issues on macOS

After you are done with troubleshooting AirDrop related issues on your iPhone or iPad, it’s time to troubleshoot our Mac.

1. Turn OFF/ON Bluetooth and WiFi and Restart Your Mac

As mentioned earlier, restarting solves most of the communication related problems. So, we are going to do this on Mac as well.

Starting with Bluetooth, simply click on Bluetooth icon on the status bar and turn it OFF. Similarly, turn OFF WiFi. Now, restart your Mac.

Turn Off Bluetooth and Wifi in Mac to fix AirDrop Issues
Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in Mac

NOTE: If the Bluetooth icon is not displaying in the status bar, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth. Here, check the box for Show Bluetooth in the menu bar.


2. Make Your Mac Visible to Everyone to Fix AirDrop Issues

Visibility or discoverability remain the main problem with AirDrop. So, it’s better to set your Mac’s discoverability to Everyone. Selecting Contacts Only, might prevent AirDrop from working properly.

Go to Finder > Go menu > AirDrop. Here, select Everyone from “Allow me to be discovered by” drop-down menu to fix AirDrop related issues.

Make AirDrop Discoverable to Everyone
Make AirDrop Discoverable to Everyone

3. Disable Do Not Disturb

Similar to iPhone, “Do Not Disturb” might prevent AirDrop from working correctly on Macs as well. So, it’s a good idea to turn off DND. You can do so by clicking on the Today tab and then disable Do Not Disturb toggle.

Disable Do Not Disturb in your Mac
Disable Do Not Disturb in your Mac

4. Disable “Block All Incoming Connections” in Firewall

Next thing in our troubleshooting guide for AirDrop is macOS Firewall. It might also cause problems with AirDrop. If you have enabled Firewall in your Mac, it might be interfering with AirDrop by blocking incoming connections. You can turn OFF Block all incoming connections in Firewall settings without turning off Firewall.

Open System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall tab. If the Firewall is on, you need to click on the lock icon and then enter your admin password. Next, click on Firewall options and then uncheck the box next to Block All Incoming Connection. Click on OK to apply the settings.

Allow Incoming Connections in macOS Firewall
Allow Incoming Connections in macOS Firewall

5. Use Terminal Command to Restart Bluetooth for Troubleshooting AirDrop

If restarting the Bluetooth is not service the purpose, then there is another trick that can do the job. Using the terminal commands, we can force the Bluetooth service to restart.

To restart Bluetooth service, first open Terminal window. Then copy and paste the following command. When prompted, enter your admin password (you can also use Touch ID or Apple Watch to authorize it).

sudo pkill blued

After you run above command, the Bluetooth service will restart. This will kill all active Bluetooth connections. Now check if AirDrop issue is solved or not.


6. Reset All Bluetooth Connections

If restarting the Bluetooth service doesn’t fix the AirDrop connectivity issues for you, resetting all Bluetooth connections might help.

In macOS, all the known Bluetooth connections are stored in a separate file. So, to reset all Bluetooth connections, all you have to do is just delete that file. And then macOS new blank file for new connections.

To delete Bluetooth connections file, first of all turn OFF Bluetooth. Click on the Bluetooth icon in the status bar and select Turn Bluetooth Off.

Next, open a Finder window, select Go menu > Go to Folder and paste following path and hit Enter.

/Library/Preferences/
Reset Bluetooth Connections in Mac
Reset Bluetooth Connections in Mac

Here, find and delete the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file. Enable Bluetooth again and try using AirDrop.


7. Update macOS to the Latest Version

Just like iOS, older versions of macOS might face issues with AirDrop. So, it’s a better idea to keep your Mac updated to the latest version. And this might solve “AirDrop not working” issue for you.

To update macOS, open System Preferences and click on Software Update pane. Follow on screen instructions to update your Mac.

Update macOS to Latest Version
Update macOS to Latest Version

Troubleshooting “AirDrop Not Working” Issue on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Above guide explained how you can troubleshoot issues related to AirDrop on iPhone, iPad or Mac. Most of the times connectivity problems can be solved by restarting the device. However, feel free to follow above guide to reset your networking connections (Bluetooth, WiFi) on your iPhone, iPad or Mac to make AirDrop work again.

So, let’s us know which of the trick worked for you in the comment section down below. Also, feel free to share this guide with your friends to help them solve AirDrop connectivity issues. You can also share your queries and suggestions in the comment section down below. Also feel free to subscribe to our newsletter and get latest tutorials directly into your inbox.

Editorial Staff

Hi there, we are the editorial staff at HELLPC Tutorials. We are a team of funny and technical people. Feel free to get in touch with us via Contact-Us page.

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